With the team's practice prep for the Philadelphia Eagles almost complete, here's a list of the best quotes of the week, as compiled by WashingtonFootball.com, presented by GEICO:
10. Head coach Ron Rivera on adjusting for a night game with his recovery:
"It's going to take a lot. Typically, in all honesty, at that time I'm usually getting ready to go to bed. I will have to nap during the day, take a break in between. After just looking at some game-plan stuff, I'll take a break and get a little bit more rest. It was interesting because the Pittsburgh game, I had a little bit more of that too going on. I was able to take a nap at the stadium as well. I've just got to pay attention to that and make sure I'm taking advantage of the opportunity to rest."
9. Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio on the cornerbacks:
"Our defense, we're going to take advantage of the people that we have available. We're going to do the best we can to play in a way that gets us the ball back for the offense. The biggest thing is to get stops whether it's third down, whether it's creating turnovers, whether it's in the red zone. You've got to find a way to get the ball back for your offense. Whoever we have, we're going to put a plan together to utilize the talents we have with the front, with the linebackers, with the DBs and how it all works together."
8. Quarterback Alex Smith on the affect he has on his teammates:
"I don't pay much attention to that or see it. Certainly, I go about my business and role the best way I can. When you step in the huddle or interactions with guys on the sidelines and in the locker room and stuff like that, for me it's being authentic and being myself and I guess things that you've picked up throughout your career. For me, it's all about being able to go out there and help us win football games. I'm not thinking about anything else beyond that. Certainly, I think when you are older and have been in some of these situations, there's a comfort level that maybe you do have that you don't realize."
7. Smith on what he has been able to bring to the team this year:
"Again, obviously, I'm focused on Sunday and doing everything I can for that. Ultimately, when I have opportunities, it's exactly what I've been talking about going out and holding up your end, being accountable to your coaches and teammates and everybody in this organization. We all depend on each other. Obviously, the quarterback touching the ball every play carries a lot of responsibility. A lot of people depend on you to go out there and make good decisions and be accurate with the football. That's not something that I take lightly at all. For me, it's a great responsibility and a great challenge."
6. Offensive coordinator Scott Turner on how this team has progressed from the first Eagles game:
"It's been a long year. I've been watching these cut ups of the Philly game at the beginning of the year, and it feels like five years ago. I think everyone jokes about 2020 and all that kind of stuff, but this season has kind of been like that. I think we've come a long way. You see a lot of our guys and a lot of our players—we've found out about some guys. Some players have really stepped up and have put together really good years. I think, offensively, we've still got some work to do as we build this program. We'll reflect on a little bit more of that once the season is over, but we've gotten a lot better. We've gotten better in a lot of areas. That's kind of what we tried to do. It is interesting, we played them in the first game, and we'll play them in the last game. We're really, right now, focused on getting in this last game and doing everything we can to find a way to get a win and extend our season."
5. Del Rio on DE Chase Young:
"I think, obviously, the skillset coming in was great. I think the way he arrived on the scene – serious about his work and fitting in with his teammates – I think is exactly what you hope for. And then the biggest surprise, just something that I really didn't anticipate, is how much of a leader he is and how much of an inspiration he is. He loves football. He loves his teammates. All you have to do is watch him. Watch him during practice, watch him on game day. He loves ball. I think it's infectious."
4. Rivera on what he tells the team heading into a high-magnitude game:
"At the end of the day, it's really just about going out and having fun. No matter what you do or how you look at it, the significance and importance of this game is there. What you don't want to do is you don't want to get all wound up. You don't want to get tight. You want to go into this game and just understand you want to have fun. Let the chips fall where they may. At the end of the day if we get caught up and we don't win—OK. Life goes on. We'll move forward. We'll have opportunities. But what's at stake everybody understands. Everybody gets it. Let's not make it something that's out of reach or not attainable. Let's make it something that we're going to enjoy and say: 'Man, we had a great time. That was fun. That was a great run. I really appreciate that.'"
3. Rivera on how he'll view the season with a win or loss:
"I want our guys to understand we came a long way. We did. Despite everything that happened in 2020, this football team has come a long way. Can we go further? I hope so. I really do. I hope on Sunday we get a chance to go further. It'll be also a part of the learning process. It will be another step in the learning process. I would love for this group to be able to say: 'Man, it was crazy going into the playoffs and doing this, that and the other thing.' That's part of the learning curve. That's another step. Is it exciting? Yes. Hell yes, it really is. I'm excited for our players. As I told them after Sunday's game against Carolina: 'Guys, this isn't for me. I've been there. I know what it feels like. This is for you guys to learn and grow.' I'm the voice of experience. I know what it feels like, but I want them to experience it. That's what this is about as far as I'm concerned."
2. Rivera on what he imagined the year would be like when he took the job in Washington a year ago:
"I couldn't imagine anything like it was, to be honest with you. I did imagine getting a team of really good, young football players and developing. That's what I imagined that our coaches would get an opportunity to shape and mold and teach. I think that's what our coaches have done. I think they've done a great job of shaping, teaching and molding. That's what I imagined. There's no way I could've imagined anything else. Did I imagine competing for the division? I was hoping to compete for the division as an optimistic person and coach. Yes, absolutely. Did I imagine it? No. That's probably the truth of it. I couldn't imagine where we are today. You hope for it, and that's cool. But in spite of everything, it's been a hell of a year. That's for doggone sure."
1. Rivera on Sunday's game against the Eagles being flexed to Sunday Night Football:
"That's exactly it. We're on the stage now. The one thing I will say, the first other two games we've been on the stage—the Pittsburgh game and the Dallas game—our guys came out and played well and had fun. That's the biggest thing. We've got to get back to having a little bit of fun. The truth of the matter is we're playing with house money. That's the best part about it. Nobody expected us to be here. I just feel that it's great. These guys deserve it after the year we've been through, the last few years. I think our guys appreciate that."